Waking Woods

comments: 41


Headed toward home plate on a year of this. It's hard to remember how we did things. Did Amelia actually go to school with a roomful of other kids? Did I sit side-by-side with the moms on the playground and talk about genealogy and Shopify and in-laws? Did we eat at restaurants every other day? Did I take her to Ikea every other week to play on all the furniture? Did she touch everything in every room of the children's museum, where there isn't a single window and it smells like dirty diapers and microwaved food and lifesaving espresso? Did I sit in the front room of the ballet school, talking to sweetest Teacher Michelle and knitting as the high-school girls filed in and the little ones held hands and fell into each other's arms on the old couch? Was there ever a time when it wasn't just Amelia and me somewhere in the woods, building fairy houses, searching for tiny mushrooms, listening for woodpeckers, and hoping no one else shows up? I have a terrible time wearing a mask. My glasses just fog up no matter what I do and I can't stand it. My asshole eye doctor won't release my prescription to me so I can get new glasses because it's over four years old. Glimpsing another person coming from far down the trail fills me with adrenaline. God, I just hate the feeling. Hello, person fifty yards away! I'm terrified of you!


The woods receive us nonetheless. Everything is still very chilly and very sleepy. There's usually at least one bird singing. The sound of traffic far off. The smell of red cedar. I watch the time because we have to get back so Amelia can go to math class online at 1:00. We drive-thru McDonald's for frozen lemonades and Happy Meals and eat them in the car, blasting Lizzo on the way home.


Last week a nutria swam out of the beaver lodge and sat in front of a log in the water, staring at us. I had to rub my eyes because I couldn't believe it. Later he came up out of the pond right near where we were sitting and started snuffling around just yards away. It was adorable (however, invasive)! We sent a video to Andy. He's been at work a lot lately. I think we're both very tired (and our brand new hot tub is BROKEN). When he gets home there's a short, happy reunion and then I race to my room and shut the door and turn on the TV, knit something, call my friend, make some jewelry, surf Instagram, eat Chipotle carnitas burrito bowls delivered to the front porch by a rotating cast of GrubHubbers. I'm embarrassed by what my neighbors must think about how much I order GrubHub. I try to work. I've got spring stuff coming. My hand-dyed floss order got lost for a while at Weeks Dye Works so we're a bit behind, but it's here now and I'm hoping we'll launch stuff next week. Andy pulls the floss. It's kind of complicated. The cat has to be locked up the entire time. He's going to make more lotion bars soon. (The kid works hard. He does anything he can to help me every single day.) My new assistant Ivy is just a dream. And I still have my goal of reformatting my cross-stitch patterns for wholesale. I was supposed to do that in 2020. I still want to make it happen. Right now I desperately need to pull my stuff together to send to the accountant to do our taxes. Ugh. Whatevs. Send food and nap dresses.


I started making resin jewelry. I enjoy this very much. I'm totally new at it. I learned a lot from my first batch: Let the resin sit for about fifteen minutes to get rid of some bubbles. Don't pour it in, just dab it with the popsicle stick. Don't ever put open bezels on whatever kind of packing tape I have (it sucked). Don't take the sticky residue off with a scratchy cotton ball (not sure how it can be scratchy, but it was?). I mean, in a lot of ways I did a mostly good job on my first batch. (I had watched a lot of tutorials about how to do it before I tried.) But I need more practice. I need to pop every single bubble. I bought a new full-face respirator and signed up for a beginner's metalsmithing-at-home class at Portland Community College that concentrates on all cold connections (no soldering). I want to make my own bezels. Right now I'm using the batch of them I bought online. I think my technique needs to get better before I use really nice bezels. All of the botanical material I used was from our yard or our walks in the woods. Tiny ferns, little Robert geraniums, plum blossoms, a few vinca and veronica from the parkway. All these sweet little baby greens keeping me from despair.


I hope you are all well and finding vaccine appointments if you are eligible and finding ways to stay occupied until you are if you're not. I hope if you have little kids you are not fried. My friend told me yesterday that a local newspaper said that Oregon was going to have enough vaccine for all adults by the end of April. I want to believe that. Thank you for the emails and comments about the playlist. I'm so glad you like it! If you've made one, leave a link in the comments? Thank youuuuu. I'm grateful.



You’ve touched on that concept I can hardly grasp... nothing will ever be the same. And what does this mean? We have been through so much, and the days ahead are difficult to imagine. Thank goodness for things growing, in gardens, in our hearts, with our skills. I hope you know that you and the things you share are, for me, like the sweet flowers that keep me from despair.

As always you are eloquently relatable and Amelia is a tiny style icon.

Keep on hoping... it will get better somehow.

I love how you describe your reality.. we each have our own unique one and I admire how in touch with yours you are and that you share it with us. That first photo is brilliant with Amelia looking like a tiny pixie in the forest. Just sweet. I have had my first shot, we found it in Monmouth if you can believe it. We have to drive back next week for the 2nd one. Dayle got both of his from the VA. Oddly enough our life at home didn't change much, the worst part is not being able to dine out as often as we did. The best part is that Dayle has become quite the chef. Take heart.. our worlds will open up again. ((hugs)), Teresa :-)

You can do online eye exams through lots of glasses websites like Warby Parker and Eyebuydirect!

If all you want is a repeat of your current glasses, without an eye test you should be able to take them to a dispensing optician and they can read your prescription from the lenses

Michaelanne Neal says: March 10, 2021 at 02:27 PM

Somehow...it will return to normalcy..seeing small gains where I live. Sending you love, and hoping you get a vaccine very soon!!!!

You sound so busy! I'm glad you have the woods to escape to when life gets too frantic.

If it makes you feel any better, your eye dr is just doing what any eye dr would do. If your prescription is over a year old, it's considered expired. If your glasses are four years old, girl...you're way overdue for an eye exam and possibly new glasses! Please take care of your peepers and go get that exam.

I found one way to not have my glasses fog up (sometimes they still do a little bit, but not too bad) is to put your mask on first, then your glasses on top of the mask. The bottom part of your glasses should actually be over your mask. Give it a try if you haven't already.


Jane Corbett says: March 10, 2021 at 03:48 PM

Last week my sister and I were talking casually about a party we had hosted. I stopped talking and said, "Wow, a party. What a concept? I can't even imagine having a party ever again." Everything seems so different now. I worry that we'll be afraid to be together, afraid to hug, afraid to laugh. I hope that won't happen. Lovely photos of Amelia in the woods. Her hair has grown so long again. What a lovely girl you have.

When the dinner table conversation is about COVID vaccines, and your husband is telling your small kids about all the grandparent and great-grandparent visits they will have once it's safe... and you burst uncontrollably into tears. I feel all this, too.

Your pictures are magical. Amelia looks like a little elf in the forest! I don't know why, but I've never been afraid of the virus ever since it started and I'm in the very high risk range. I guess it's my age and the fact I know this, too, will pass. I hardly wear a mask unless required and will be so glad when the mandate is lifted.

oh my stars how I hate masks (even though I HEARTILY APPROVE OF MASKS don't get me wrong) but yeah. Not fun. my skin hates hates hates them, and about halfway through grocery shopping I feel all panicky and I'm like ok TIME TO GET OUT OF HERE. Some days I have energy. Most days I do not. I was going to write more of a story here to you here, but....I am just SO TIRED. I hope you got to watch All Creatures Great and Small - such a great show! yes to the suggestion of just taking your glasses anywhere and they should be able to read the prescription just by looking at your glasses. big XO

Lovely eloquent post and pictures, as always. Have some compassion for your eye doctor. Likely it against professional ethics or malpractice to dispense a prescription after a certain time period without an eye exam. A dilated eye exam or retinal scan can pick up changes from the beginnings of hypertension, diabetes and macular degeneration. Plus its important to get the glaucoma screening. Its not always about getting you back in the office for a visit charge..its about your health. I hope you get it worked out, a visit to your eye doctor should feel special and you should feel heard and really seen! But buy your glasses somewhere else than the in-office selection...unless you have awesome health benefits.

Love the photos of the woods and your magical daughter. I’m so glad you have each other. You reminded me that I need to get my eyes checked too. Sigh.

I find using tape (paper tape or microspore) across my nose really helps stop my glasses fogging up. Doesn't look great, but I don't care. Hope this helps. x

That last photo of Amelia in the woods is everything.

I know this feeling. I am losing it myself. Dont dare clear your throat at the checkout. People give you a look as if you're Godzilla. Your photos are always good for the soul. Amelia is getting so big... time is flying! God bless ya!

Oh, Alicia. Your words are always just perfect. I am an introverted hermit who homeschools my three youngest kids; I avoid social events, busy schedules, children's museums (your description of the smell is 100%), crowds...and after a year of my hermit dreams come true, I am DONE. Give me a giant, hacking, sniffling crowd! I hope that you and Amelia have access to the vaccine soon, so you and she can go back to all the things you miss.

I drop into work about once a week to clean out the mail box, and do other things I can't do at home. This week I was walking down a public hallway to the washroom when the ear band of my mask slipped off and my face was exposed. I panicked! It was the equivalent of my bra flying off in front of others!

That first picture of Amelia in the woods! I hear ya on the mask/glasses issue. I’m a big believer in wearing the masks but when this is over, I’m going to treat myself to about 10 new tubes of lipstick, my favorite accessory 😉. Our state is moving along with the vaccine, and I was lucky enough to qualify for this round, got my first shot this week. Oh, I never dreamed that I would be so damn exhilarated to receive a shot (needle phobic here!). Just hang in there a little bit longer, Alicia, we are close, my dear! As usual, I’m looking forward to your new release and stalking your website like crazy. Enjoy the woods and your family. Oh, and I loooooved the description of Andy’s happy homecoming and then rushing to the bedroom. Personal time to do what feels normal — gahhhh! He’s a prince!

Rena Guth says: March 11, 2021 at 09:55 AM

This post is so sad and all the comments make me sad too. The fear everyone has is heartbreaking. This is what the media has done to our world, made us afraid of everything.

My need to hug people is just about bursting right now--I will be eligible next week, hallelujah, and after I get my shot I might just wear a sign that says, "HUG ME, I BEG YOU". I have missed people, so much. Your words and pictures are, as ever, a balm for me. Thank you for being here. Sending you love. xoxo

Oh for the glorious peace of nature! I love your photos of walks in the woods...this last one is a gem. It's always so nice to see a blog post of yours pop up in my feed. Your words today were so spot on with those feelings I know we all have, that first paragraph reminding me so much of thoughts I often have while reminiscing about life a year ago. Yes, so much has changed, yet I think in many ways we've also tapped into the essence of what matters most in our lives, forced to simplify a little (and maybe become even more introverted than we already are...that's me). I do look forward to nice meals out with my family, to traveling once again and not wearing a mask everywhere (I have the glasses issue too!)...I'm grateful that we are getting closer each day!

Enjoy the day!

We live in a rural area with low transmission that was hit very early by covid, so we’ve been more or less back to normal for months. Still masks in stores and public spaces, but people are back in each other’s homes (and hugging!), school is in session, music lessons in person, lots of room in ICUs and plenty of hospital beds, and folks are no longer afraid. Keep holding out hope! It will happen. Prayers for peace. 💗💗💗

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About Alicia Paulson


My name is Alicia Paulson
and I love to make things. I live with my husband and daughter in Portland, Oregon, and design sewing, embroidery, knitting, and crochet patterns. See more about me at aliciapaulson.com